It’s Day 17 of veterinary school, and my eyelids feel like they have 10-pound weights attached to them. I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading, since the last two afternoons have found me wrist-deep in dog and cat dissections at the anatomy lab—you’d be surprised how long it takes four people to correctly identify the seven extrinsic muscles of the thoracic limb! We’re certainly well on our way to mastering the flexors and extensors of the antebrachium, but our knowledge of where all these forelimb muscles attach to the bones is spotty at best… So it’s back to the books! I’ve found it incredibly hard to concentrate on the anatomy and histology chapters this afternoon, even after multiple cups of coffee, and I’m actually having trouble reading what I’m typing right now… Ahh, but that’s how it goes when a sleepaholic suddenly decides to get 6 hours of sleep every night!
I’ve been doing my best to keep my spirits up during the deluge of information, listening to retro radio stations on Pandora, hiking in the early autumnal woods, and joining my roommates for the weekly premieres of our favorite television shows. So far the awesomeness of my new classmates and the fascinating science we’re learning has been motivation enough to keep me going through the long days… But it seems that my body still hasn’t adjusted to the early mornings and the intense concentration needed to absorb dense lectures and (even denser) textbook chapters.
In the absence of a club lunch talk today, I met with my faculty mentor. She’s a consulting radiologist at the school hospitals, and a fabulous lecturer for our introductory radioanatomy course. I had wanted to jump right to the chase and ask her opinion on summer internships versus work opportunities, as well as pick her brain on how best to learn about what a conservation veterinarian does, and how could I possibly transition over to teaching vet students at some point?… But she very wisely saw through my babble to my mounting stress. She emphasized making time every day, or at least every week, to do something completely unrelated to vet medicine—like volunteering, knitting, baking, exercising, drawing, or writing. So I’ll take her words to heart and continue making my afternoon hikes and Doctor Who episodes an equal priority with keeping on top of my schoolwork, because, as Gordon B. Hinckley said, “In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”